OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

June 24, 2003

Mr. Brian A. Dillman
G. Edwin Pidcock Co.
2451 Parkwood Drive
Allentown, PA 18103-9608

Dear Mr. Dillman:

Thank you for your February 16, 2000 letter to Mr. Arthur Buchanan, Director, Office of General Industry Enforcement. We apologize for the delay in responding to our request. You note in your letter that OSHA had proposed to establish, through rulemaking, specifications for manhole steps that would require a minimum rung width of 10 inches and a minimum toe clearance of 4.5 inches at the center of the rung and 4.0 inches at the point of embedment. In view of this proposed rulemaking, you have asked about OSHA's enforcement policy while the rulemaking proceeding is still underway.

The proposed revision to Subpart D of 29 CFR Part 1910 was first published in 1990. For several years, the rulemaking proceeding was inactive, but more recently, on May 2, 2003, OSHA published a notice reopening the record and seeking comments on several specific questions (
68 Federal Register 23528). The notice did not raise any issues pertaining specifically to the original proposal for manhole steps. While the rulemaking continues, therefore, OSHA's enforcement policy is that manhole steps meeting the above specification requirements will not be cited.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, and correction. Such guidance could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov/. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at 202-693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs